Which Hyatt in Waikiki: Regency vs. Centric
There are three Hyatt hotel properties on the island of Oahu — all three are located in Waikiki. Waikiki is not known as a sprawling resort area, but instead is a cluster of tall hotels with small footprints squeezed into a strip of land in Honolulu.
Recently I spent one night at both the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa and Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach. The third property is the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. For this post I will be comparing the two full service properties — the Regency and Centric.
The Hyatt Regency in Waikiki is a large 1,230 room resort spread across two towers that are each 40 floors tall. It was built in the 1970s but has gone through various refreshes over the years.
The Centric is a smaller boutique property with 230 rooms across 20 floors. It is actually an old office building that was completely gutted before opening as a hotel in 2017.
Here is a chart to compare the properties at a glance.
The Regency is located across the main road from the public beach. The Centric is only a 5-10 minute walk from the Regency but is set inland so you will have a bit of a walk to the ocean. Otherwise the locations are so close that you can access all the same restaurants and shopping.
If paying cash, the Regency rates are typically higher than the Centric. Both properties charge a daily resort fee; $42 at Regency and $33 at Centric.
If paying with points, the Regency is a Category 5 which has a standard cost of 20,000 Hyatt points per night while the Centric is Category 4 which has a standard cost of 15,000 Hyatt points per night. That means you can also use your Category 1-4 Free Night Certificates at the Centric.
The base of the Regency takes up an entire city block and spans three floors. The first floor is a public open air shopping arcade. The second floor is hotel check-in and more shopping. The third floor is the pool, restaurants, and Regency Club. There isn’t a central gathering spot and the front desk is a bit of a challenge to find upon arrival.
The Centric has a ground floor entry lobby but you take the elevator to the lobby on Floor 8. Here you will find the front desk, common area with seating, and the outdoor pool area. There was a restaurant and bar in this area but it closed in 2020 and there are no signs of a reopening.
Food & Beverage
The Regency has two hotel restaurants. SHOR is the larger restaurant that serves a breakfast buffet while Swim is the pool-side bar and restaurant. There are also a number of restaurants and coffee shops on the ground floor public area.
The Centric has no bar or restaurant. However there is a Starbucks you can directly access from the ground floor entry lobby.
Both properties have a ton of options nearby.
As a Globalist, I was upgraded to an Ocean Front room on the 35th floor with a fantastic view of the beach. I have heard it is very uncommon to be upgraded to a suite at the Regency.
At the Centric I was upgraded to a very nice suite but with a view only of the pool.
The Regency has a Regency Club with indoor and outdoor seating. Breakfast is served in the Club, as is an evening snack but no complimentary alcohol. The Club is open 24 hours a day. The Centric does not have a Club, nor does it offer Globalists breakfast. Instead you get 500 points per night.
As the Regency is a resort property, late check out is not guaranteed but I was able to get a 2pm check out. The Centric offered me late check out up until 4pm if I had needed it.
As I had a suite at the Centric but a standard room at the Regency, it is hard to compare. The standard room at the Centric is a bit smaller but much more modern.
The rooms in the Regency are clean but basic.
Every room at the Regency has a balcony while the Centric has no balconies.
Winner: Centric for the modern room layouts and details but the balconies at the Regency are a huge plus.
The standard room’s bathroom at the Regency is very small. The combo tub and shower and toilet are in a cramped enclosed space while the sink is outside connected to the main room.
The suite I had at the Centric was bigger and has a separate tub in the enclosed shower space. The tub fills from the ceiling which was a cool touch. A window in the bathroom into the living area allows light to come in to the bathroom which is otherwise on the dark side.
Neither properties have an impressive pool. The Regency pool is a basic small rectangular pool with a lot of lounge chairs and a separate hot tub.
The Centric has essentially a wading pool no more than a foot deep in addition to a hot tub. It also lacks shade so the idea of just lounging on a chair in the pool isn’t practical.
The Regency wins hands down on the view. Half of the rooms have direct views of the water. Even if you don’t have a water view, you likely will be in a room that looks out to something besides a wall or rooftop. Every room has a balcony as well.
The Centric on the other hand has no ocean front views. Some of the rooms would have a peekaboo view of the ocean through other buildings. My room looked out on to the pool and a rooftop/parking garage with just a glimpse of the ocean. None of the rooms have balconies or windows that open.
I found the service at both properties to be impersonal. I think a bit of that may just be customer service in Hawaii. All the staff were pleasant but didn’t not warm. The same front desk employee at the Centric checked me in and then out again in the morning and remember me and asked about my room. The Regency front desk staff was able to get me a late check out, but the staff in the Regency Club seemed uninvolved; sitting and chatting with other employees most of the time.
The Centric also has a dog that hangs out in the lobby, so I’ll give them the win.
The rooms at the Centric are more modern and feel higher end even though less expensive. However the beachfront location of the Regency, elite benefits, and balconies make the Hyatt Regency Waikiki the best Hyatt option on Oahu. If I am in Hawaii, I want to be at the beach and be able to enjoy the outside. I would go back to either property in the future, especially if the Centric gets their breakfast situation solved.